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Have a Safe Barbeque This Memorial Day

Friday, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- As grills around the country are fired up for Memorial Day, one food safety expert has advice on how to ensure your barbeque or picnic is not only fun but safe.

Nancy Donely, founder of STOP Foodborne Illness and a leading national advocate for food safety, urges people to take the following safety precautions when cooking and eating outdoors this summer:

  • Keep a small cooler in the trunk of your car to transport food. Bags of ice can be purchased and added to the cooler over time.
  • Always store raw meats in a separate cooler than fully cooked items and beverages.
  • A marinade that was used on raw meat, poultry or seafood should not be re-used for basting.
  • When temperatures hit 90 degrees or higher, perishable foods that are served outside should be eaten first. After one hour, throw them out.
  • If you do not have access to a sink, use hand sanitizer when preparing food.
  • Use separate platters and utensils for raw and cooked food. Also, don't serve cooked food on platters that were used to transport raw food to the grill unless they have been washed thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Use a thermometer when cooking meat. Ground meat should reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees before it can be served safely.
  • Immediately after eating, cool and refrigerate leftovers in shallow containers. Anything left out for more than two hours should be discarded.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides detailed information on foodborne illness and food safety.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: STOP Foodborne Illness, news release, May 17, 2011

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